The latest Benji invested some time on the streets prior to director Brandon Camp made that a star.Netflix
America’s favorite underdog is back! Benji — the scruffy, soulful-eyed mutt whose very first film, “Benji,” grossed about $45 million at package office once it premiered in 1974 — is returning on Friday for a full-length reboot top top Netflix. The update functions the 4th dog to play Benji in a movie since the begin of the franchise, and retains all the family-friendly innocence the the originals.

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But if manager Brandon Camp had taken advice from Hollywood honchos when he very first pitched the movie, the brand-new “Benji” movie would have actually looked a little bit … different.

“One exec wanted Benji to talk, because he claimed that’s what animals in movies do now,” Camp tells The Post. “Another said we should do miscellaneous cool, choose ‘Benji in Space.’”

Then, that got also worse. Camp, who wrote and also directed the 2009 Jennifer Aniston flick “Love Happens,” threw up his hands at a pointer to surround a sad, washed-up Benji with ultrahip YouTube stars.

Camp left Hollywood in a huff. The wasn’t being a diva — that had great reason to stay true come the soul of the original “Benji.”

His father, Joe Camp, created the character virtually 45 year ago. An animal lover that shot tv commercials, the had dreams of reflecting a charismatic dog’s emotional trip by shooting him in ~ eye level.

“The film executives basically laughed at him and also told him to placed his cowboy hat back on his head and also go back to Texas, because no one in America would ever see the movie,” Brandon says.

“Benji” director Brandon Camp and his father, Joe — who developed the character virtually 45 years back — pose v the scruffy pooch indigenous the Netflix reboot.Getty Images

Doggone it, were they shortsighted. His father financed the film independently and also then drummed up the money to execute a single premiere in Dallas. The movie took turn off from there.

Brandon, who flourished up filming and also promoting Benji with his parents and even brought the dogs that played him right into school a few times for show-and-tell, determined he would follow in his father’s footsteps by act the latest movie top top his own. Fairly than bend to “ruff” studio demands, he decided to do a low-budget film external of the system.

Picking the best pup to be crucial. Brandon started scrolling with animal-rescue websites for a glimpse that a shaggy star with just the best warm, expressive eyes.

Brandon discovered his Benji in a floppy-eared mutt, that was lugged to a Humane society shelter in Virginia after ~ being discovered — malnourished, matted and also flea-ridden — in an empty grocery save parking lot.

He has since found a love home, and also Brandon says he required to acting like … a dog with a bone. “He was a natural. Ns think he to be born to perform it.

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“Now he’s got a complete entourage, really demanding agents and lawyers, a trailer and a personal chef,” Brandon jokes of the pooch, who recently appreciated doling out “pawtographs” in ~ the movie’s LA premiere. But really: “All he requires is a large, pillowy bed and also a squeaky toy. If only all of the actors and actresses I functioned with were this easy.”

Brandon, a dad of four, is excited to introduce the lover pup come a new generation — and of course, he desires to do his father proud. “When I chose I wanted to lug Benji back,” the says, “I asked because that the tricks to the proverbial car. Come his credit, my dad to be hands-off, and let me phone call my version of the story.” Still, that hews close to the original, with a few variations: This “Benji” is set in brand-new Orleans, fairly than McKinney, Texas; a single mother, quite than a solo dad, is originally wary that bringing home a new pet for her two kids.

And exactly how does Joe feel around his young vision because that “Benji”?

Brandon says he loves it: “Tears were in his eye the very first time he experienced it, and thus, tears to be in mine, too.”